Written by Victoria Wolk. Yoga doesn’t just give Mrs. Claus the strength to help load gifts into Santa’s sleigh. Those moves also keep her memory sharp, so she can remember if you’re on the naughty or nice list this year. Find out more about yoga’s cognitive benefits via the link in our bio! And stay tuned for more ways Mrs. Claus stays healthy during the holiday season. Check out more about yoga’s cognitive benefits below ✍️ by David Brunell-Brutman
In the quest to keep dementia and Alzheimer’s out of your future, you’re probably already doing what you can to get plently of sleep and exercise, both proven ways to protect your brain. Now a new study offers up one more tool to add to your anti-aging brain plan: gentle yoga.
In a study published in the Journals of Gerontology, two groups of adults 55 and older were tested on cognitive skills such as planning, problem solving, and multitasking. Then they were split into two groups: One group did gentle yoga for 60 minutes 3 times a week, and the other did a series of stretches and strengthening exercises, like bicep curls and flutter kicks, for the same amount of time. After 8 weeks, the participants’ cognitive skills were tested again. The result: the yoga group significantly improved their cognitive performance, while the stretching group showed no changes.
What is it about yoga that wakes up your brain?
Study author and assistant professor at Wayne State University Neha Gothe, PhD, isn’t entirely sure why yoga has an impact on mental skills, but she believes it has something to do with the mind-body element of the exercise. “While practicing yoga, you’re not just moving your body,” she says, “you’re focused on your breath and mindfully aware of your postures.” If you’re doing other kinds of exercise, like running, it’s much easier to get distracted by everything going on around you—but get distracted during, say, Triangle pose, and you could end up kissing the mat.
Plus, according to past research, stress and anxiety have a huge impact on cognitive function, so the relaxation aspect of yoga might also be in play.